MOOCs are not the answer, they are the first step.
I just saw this news story about a Math professor being forced to have his students use a certain expensive textbook co-authored by the university’s math department’s chair.
This is sad and is symptomatic of how broken the education systems are, not just in the US but in many parts of the world. It suggests the trend of colleges and universities that are more interested in the cashing-in aspect of imparting knowledge (which we have to admit, is part of the equation — and is how quality of education is maintained and improved) than the actual education part of it.
I personally feel that fixing these issues in higher education will not be solved by MOOCs or the democratization of access to university level education.
The change will have to come from industry. Until the current age of connectivity university grades/degrees/certificates etc were the easiest way to gauge a person’s abilities and suitability for a job (especially when the person did not have or could not prove, prior experience) and they do act as a filter (unless you live in complete denial about reality). However, I don’t think that it needs to be so. I wonder, how can we replace this (admittedly, flawed, although working well for the most part) filter of educational qualifications ?